UT Arlington women secure Sun Belt title, NCAA berth
PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) — Starr Jacobs scored 28 points for the third straight game and No. 2 seed UT Arlington beat and top-seeded Troy 76-61 on Monday to clinch its first Sun Belt Conference tournament championship.
UT Arlington (20-7), which joined the Sun Belt in 2014-15, won its first league tournament since being a member of the Southland Conference in 2007. It’ll be UTA’s third NCAA Tournament appearance before returning to the Western Athletic Conference later this summer.
Jacobs, the Sun Belt player of the year and tournament MVP, was 10 of 21 from the field and 8 of 11 at the stripe against defending champion Troy for her league-leading 15th 20-point game of the season. She also grabbed 11 rebounds.
Jacobs grabbed an offensive rebound and converted a three-point play to give UTA a 62-47 lead early in the fourth quarter, and her three-point play with 3:05 left made it 70-55.
De’Sha Benjamin added 14 points and Terryn Milton had 12 points, eight rebounds and six assists for UTA. Claire Chastain grabbed 10 rebounds.
UTA dominated the first half, using a 13-0 run to help build a 43-24 lead. Benjamin had 11 points early in the second quarter to help UTA build a 30-15 lead and the advantage remained in double figures the rest of the way. Jacobs also had 11 points in the half.
Felmas Koranga had 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Tina Stephens added 10 points, 14 rebounds and five steals for Troy (24-8). Tiyah Johnson scored 11 points.
Troy had won three of the last five tournament titles.
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